…Authors… what do yeez want the artwork on yer book covers to do?

cover-for-violin-man…let there be no ambiguity… the most important part of a scribbler’s product is always the content… the writing itself… good material is the best advertisement for yer WURK… the single element more likely than any to get yeez repeat readership… however, as emb’dy who’s ever written a book will tell yeez… there are other things to get involved with to help get yer wee masterpieces circulating and selling…vwb-cover amongst these is the artwork… the wrapper… the visual magnet that draws the eyes of the casual browser around the shelves in Waterstones or the surfers of reams upon reams of Auntie Amazon’s web pages… I recall not so long ago when visiting into London on the vacation breaks from the Middle East, piling basketloads of printed books from Waterstones in Regent Street, usually from a glance-and-buy… ending up paying by the kilo for my reading material for the ensuing months in the desert… like most people, I have my  preferred JONGGRs, usually crime thrillers… but others will have their own… chacun a son gout biblophile… now, I’ve no idea how many titles exist in the crime thrillers category, but it prob’ly runs to hundreds of thousands… front-view-speven more relevant then does it become, that my nano-second decision making when I buy in the stores is affected by a great ‘teaser’ cover…killercityweb comes now my own wee literary babies… bawling for space and attention in this tsunami of offerings… and why, from the very start of this incredible author journey, I decided to go with the best cover artist I could find… my friend Edward Lu in Manila in the Philippines… I regard my investment in his ability to create what I want my covers to do as the best value around… he tells graphically on one cover page precisely what the reader should expect… but does it in such a way that it generates positive anticipation… deadly-impassethat’s what I wanted him to achieve, and he delivers… so, Authors… what do yeez want the artwork on yer own book covers to do?…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…true grit?… or just plain fitba’ daft?… the original ‘flying winger’…

…for a brief interlude in Master Gallacher‘s kaleidoscopic career, I played on the wing, in the outside left position, for the then Scottish First Division team, Third Lanark F.C.… the ‘Hi’Hi’s’, in the fifties and early sixties, vied with Partick Thistle F.C. and Clyde Football Club, as the city’s challengers to Glasgow’s big two, Rangers and Celtic… I was signed up (or rather my dad signed me up) on what were called ‘S-Forms’ – schoolboy player designation for a professional club… the playing staff at the time boasted two exceptionally talented forwards in Alex Harley and Dave Hilley, goal machines of the old school… and arguably the shortest professional  goalkeeper the WURLD has ever known at 5 ft 5 1/2 inches tall, Jocky Robertson… when he put on his goalie’s ‘bunnet’ (cap, Mabel… cap), he grew instantly taller… despite his being vertically challenged, he was an excellent keeper, and immensely brave…

hihis

…my first training session at the club was held in the evening (some of the players had other day jobs) under the car park lights… yes, the car park… the pitch was to be kept for match days only… none of yer running about and spoiling the surface before Saturday’s game… the car park was topped with ash, and we went through our paces there… I had purchased a new pair of shorts for my first showing in front of my new team mates and the trainer (‘coach’ back then was a WURD that meant ‘a bus’)… unfortunately in my haste to buy the shorts and get along to the club grounds at Cathkin Park, I took a pair that was two sizes too small… I struggled into them and began to train… kicking the ball back and forth was just about manageable, but when the trainer asked us to get ready for sprints, I knelt down, and on ‘ready, steady go’, lunged forward a la Usain Bolt… the tightness of the shorts restricted my legs from moving at the same speed as the rest of my body, and I took off in a perfect simulation of Superman, flying yards away from the start line, ending up sprawled face down on the ash surface… my extended hands and arms took the brunt of it… gravel rash dug into my palms and up my arms to each elbow… it was horrendously painful… I think I was more angry at the embarrassment than at the excruciating bite of the cinders in my now-bleeding skin… in a rage I ripped the sides of the shorts to free my thighs, and carried on to the next sprints… all of which I won easily, propelled by temper more than skill… (I won’t say I won ‘hands down’… too painful!)… I went on to play a season with the club before moving away from Glasgow to pursue my career as a Trainee Financial Master of the Universe… in 1967, the club sadly folded after dreadful mismanagement and embezzlement at the directors’ level… but at least for one training night I truly was a ‘flying winger’… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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Writer’s support

…my great pal, Val Portelli, she of ‘Voinks’ blog fame, pens this terrific piece which makes for almost mandatory reading for every author on the planet, in my not-so-‘humble view!

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Voinks

Writing can be one of the loneliest professions. Even if we’re not stuck away in the proverbial attic our quill pens or laptops are not the friendliest of company. 

Luckily the ‘family’ of authors are one of the most supportive group I’ve ever come across. Having been there, done that and bought the printing paper I’ve learnt that experienced, best selling, traditionally published scribblers are as likely to offer their advice and support as others still struggling to understand the vagaries of the Indie route.

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Here’s a quick guide to writing a book and becoming an overnight success:

  • Have an idea.
  • Start typing (or writing) feeling inspired.
  • Get stuck half way through.
  • Finally type ‘The End.’
  • Sit back and wait to become famous.
  • Realise that’s not going to work.
  • Re-read your masterpiece and discover all the errors.
  • Friends and family re-assure you it’s wonderful.
  • Re-write your blockbuster.
  • Proof read.
  • Get…

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…Authoress, June Gundlack, allows me to invade her blog…

…with nary a regard for her reputation, my friend, Authoress, June Gundlack, lets me traipse all over her LUVLY blog pages…

‘Visiting Today’ – Seumas Gallacher

Speaking in his own, inimitable language about life as an author.  

 

 

Hello Seumas, and a warm welcome to London.  Where do I start?  Your life has been far from dull, and your writing is a dizzy contrast from the world of finance to writing crime thrillers! Or…

You call yourself a computer Jurassic, Seumas – yet your social media presence portrays anything, but.  You have taken the role of ‘building a platform’ to new heights.  How did you start?  Marketing anything is difficult and needs a keen eye and ear to find the niche that might take the product from just an idea to achieving respect and success and then making that success continue to work for you.

  • If the term ‘computer Jurassic’ applies to emb’dy who still thinks he needs a ‘winder handle’ to start up a laptop, then I’m yer Huckleberry… my first ever purchase of a Mac was almost ten years ago to write the first Jack Calder novel, THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY’… it was typed using one finger from each hand, which is still my masterpiece creation modus operandi… the ‘building the platform’ piece came from reading the blogs of the highly successful and terrific author, Rachel Abbott, who convinced me that ‘writing is a business’, and that the scribbling was the comparatively easy bit… all the rest, particularly the use of SOSYAL NETWURKS was key to being part of the modern author’s industry… and so it began…

So –  Jack Calder – how did he come into your life?

  • About a decade ago, I got the idea that it was ‘just time’ to write ‘that book’ we all supposedly have in us… I was intrigued to find out if I had the stamina to stay with a story long enough to write a whole book… I went walking for an hour and a half each evening for ten nights, thinking about a theme and a credible narrative… it came to me that part of my career in the Far East had involved being a corporate trouble-shooter for a distressed shipping company, during which time, I was ‘clearing out’ a lot of bad guys… that in turn brought death threats, necessitating an armoured car and six armed bodyguards for three years… the guy who ran and trained the security firm operatives was ex-SAS… there’s the genesis of Jack Calder…

I know I said your life hadn’t been dull… but I’d not realised quite how close you had been to the action!  What a backdrop of writing material – and obviously why Jack Calder is such a gritty and, brave character.

If your books were made into films – who would you cast as Jack?

  • Gerard Butler would fit the role, or if we could get him with a Scottish accent, Jason Statham…

Ah.  Both excellent choices and I’m sure Jason Statham would be able to rise to the accent.

Please tell us about your Crime/thriller books and where the ideas were born?

  • See above where the idea for Jack and the other ex-SAS guys came from, but for the storylines, any casual glance at the slew of international cable networks supplies tons of possible material… just change the names to protect the guilty!…

You are a blogger of merit, too – I believe you achieved an award for this in 2013.

  • There was an online poll back in 2013, and to nobody’s greater surprise than mine, I was voted Blogger of the Year… I only became aware of the poll when it reached the final selection stage…

You have a great sense of humour in your social media posts – the language – did you invent it, or is it from a very bygone time?  I imagine it may flummox the locals wherever you go.

  • I try to keep the blog light hearted, and find that’s a great offset for me from the hard crime story writing… other people’s blogs which I respect and enjoy usually have content that entertains, or educates, or empathises with other writers… mine is a mixture of that… the language I use is from the depth of my head… WURDS (sic) like ‘WURDS’ and ‘yeez’ is Scottish for ‘words’ and for ‘you’… some say it helps them to ‘hear’ my writing… the blog is my Author Brand;… my books contain my Author’s Voice’…

Thank you so much for ‘visiting today’, Seumas.  I’m sure many reading this will find their curiosity well and truly awakened and will want to read more of your wonderful words… I mean, ‘wurds‘.  I imagine Jack Calder, too, will attract more attention.

  • …many thanks for allowing me to intrude on your blog, m’Lady, June…

A pleasure, Seumas – and hope you find time to stop by again soon.

More on Seumas can be found  here:

THE VIOLIN MANS LEGACY                                           
myBook.to/theviolinmanslegacy
 
VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK
myBook.to/vengeancewearsblack
 
SAVAGE PAYBACK
myBook.to/savagepayback
 
KILLER CITY
myBook.to/calderkillercity
 
DEADLY IMPASSE
 
SELF PUBLISHING STEPS TO SUCCESSFUL SALES

Books by Seumas Gallacher:

cover-for-violin-manvwb-cover… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

deadly-impassekillercityweb

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…elementary, my dear April Taylor…

…those of yeez of a certain age may well recall then Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson saying, ‘…a week is a long time in politics…’ …well it hardly seems that on my wee blog, ‘coz just over a week ago, my dear pal, Authoress, April Taylor graced these pages with a terrific dissertation (a blog post, Mabel… a blog post) about how to create yer own promotional videos… and very well received it was, too… now here her name pops up again across my radar with her own latest launch, SHERLOCK HOLMES & THE OAKWOOD GRANGE AFFAIR... by m’Lady, April’s own description, ‘…a pastiche, emulating the great Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s writing style…’ …well, I have the complete WURKS of the good surgeon/scribbler himself, and have downloaded April’s book already in splendid anticipation of another entertaining product of her smashing writing prowess… yeez can read her insightful post below…enjoy…

avril-book-promo-portrait-bokeh

Are readers bored with all the gore, grit and angst yet?

What is the enduring appeal of Sherlock Holmes, who, as written by Conan Doyle, is more machine than flesh and blood? And how could anyone believe in Watson as Conan Doyle portrays him?

If we look at Watson critically, how can he be that dim? Unless, of course, it is to accentuate Holmes’s incredible gift of deduction. After all, Watson is a doctor. Or, is Conan Doyle perhaps having a quiet joke against himself? Because, he, too, was a doctor, who, at the height of his fame as a writer, volunteered and travelled to South Africa so he might use his medical skills in the Boer War?

The simple answer to all these questions is that Conan Doyle knew what his Strand Magazine readership wanted. Derring-do and high adventure. So, that is what he gave them, not just with Holmes but Brigadier Gerard and Professor Challenger, too. He knew his market and fed it.

As a writer in the 21st century, it is clear Conan Doyle was all about plot. His characters are pale and two dimensional compared to detectives in today’s crime fiction. But is that a bad thing? Or, is part of Holmes’s enduring appeal a backlash against many of the stereotypical modern-day detectives – angst-ridden alcoholics with family issues, married to partners who haven’t bothered to work out that police officers do not work 9-5?

How refreshing then to meet a writer who cracks on with the story, gives us all the thrills and spills with none of the action-stopping internalisation that sometimes goes on for page after tedious page. Yes, I can see why Holmes is still popular.

And that, in part is why I decided to have a go at emulating the Conan Doyle style and write a Holmes pastiche. Most readers have given it the thumbs-up for getting the style of writing authentic. I must confess I found the great detective incredibly annoying by the time I had finished the book. I felt like smacking him over the head with a frying pan saying ‘How’s that for a seen but not observed incident?

smaller-oakwood-grange

But why is Holmes so refreshing to read? Have we in fact gone too much the other way with our modern detective characters? All good fiction these days is character-driven, but there are sadly few writers out there whose detectives have calm, happy private lives and hurrah for them. Their books make such a refreshing change from the gory, gritty, relentless hopelessness so prevalent these days. How fabulous to find writers who, instead of making every scene downbeat and their main character demonstrating in nauseous detail the depth of their hidden demons, we get the necessary grit interspersed with contentment, humour and light.

Look at Ann Cleves’s Vera books or L M Krier’s Ted Darling books. Both protagonists have issues but these are not shoved down our throats. In some ways, the very fact that there are happy, humorous light episodes makes the darkness of the crime scenes and the twisted minds of the killers so much the blacker. Otherwise what do we have? The very opposite of the essence of a crime story, where good overcomes bad. Stories where it would be easy to transpose the killer and the detective, both are so damaged. How can you portray depths of darkness when everything is bleak and dismal? I think it very fitting that in 2017, the winner of the CWA Diamond Dagger is Anne Cleves.

You can find Sherlock Holmes & The Oakwood Grange Affair  here:

Amazon.co.uk – http://amzn.to/2kAeFRc

Amazon.com – http://amzn.to/2kAIHbN

You can read more about April Taylor here:

FaceBook  Twitter  Amazon UK  Amazon USA  Website and Blog YouTube

…thanks again, m’Lady, April... see later… LUV YEEZ!

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

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…of life’s unsung heroes and such…

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…with no false modesty, as a youngster, Master Gallacher was blessed with an affinity for taking and passing exams well… so much so, at the age of 11, I was reckoned to have among the highest ever recorded IQs in the Scottish educational system (all that later proved was that I was apparently lightning quick on logic… but I can assure you in other ‘smarts’ I didn’t even register as ‘average’)… came the opportunity for my primary school headmaster to put my name forward for the Glasgow-wide entrance exams to the fee-paying school of the day, Allan Glen’s School (the actor, Dirk Bogarde is an alumnus)… out of 52 bursaries available, I scored around number 10 and was offered a place… sadly, my mother approached the headmaster, a wonderful man, Carl Caplan, to tell him that, although the fees and the cost of books were covered in the scholarship, our family could not afford to buy the pricey Allan Glen’s School uniforms for me for the three-year first phase of the schooling…

allan

ALLAN GLEN’S SCHOOL 

‘…tiled halfway up inside like a public lavatory…’

Mister Caplan would hear none of it, and paid for the uniforms from his own pocket for the three years… at the end of the three years, all we 52 bursared scholars sat for the next three-year phase, with only 12 fresh scholarships on offer… somehow, my name appeared as #1 on that second list… by now, however, financial circumstances in our family had deteriorated to the extent that it meant I had to leave after the first year of that second scholarship, and the young Gallacher went to WURK as a Trainee Financial Master of the Universe in the Clydesdale & North of Scotland Bank Limited at Govan Cross, in our Docklands neighbourhood… fast forward another 20 years and my career had taken me to Hong Kong, where, behold and lo, my employers of the time felt fit to send me to the Advanced Management Program in the Graduate Business School at Harvard University in Boston…

aaa

…to this day, the hunger for learning has never left me, and I am swift to advise any person, young or mature, never to cease seeking for knowledge… and then, if yeez can, pass it on to sumb’dy else… Carl Caplan did it for me all this ages ago, and he still remains one of many great unsung heroes in my life… but more of them at a later time, Mabel… for now, see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness on the desert air…

…I saw again the other day a You Tube clip about Joshua Bell, one of the best concert violinists in the world, who played like a busker, for free, for 45 minutes, on a Stradivarius violin worth 3.5 million dollars at a subway station in Washington… over a thousand people passed by Bell, but only seven stopped to listen him play, including a 3-year old boy, and only one person put a dollar bill in his violin case, lying open at his feet… it brings home the truth that so frequently extraordinary beauty appearing in ordinary surroundings is more often as not overlooked… I recall many years ago, when I lived and worked in Manila in the Philippines, a country blessed with tremendous singing and musical talent, listening to an impromptu performance by a young man in a bar in the city… he was a part time bartender in the place, but the resident band asked him come and ‘guest’ with them for a couple of numbers… he strapped on an electric guitar and proceeded to render one of the most spine-tingling versions of blues music I’ve ever been privileged to hear… the guy sang with his heart and soul wrapped into the moment… the entire bar crowd stopped to listen, enthralled… I later learned he was self-taught, and lived in one of the squatter areas near the dockside of Tondo in the city… I never saw or heard of him again, and often wonder if his talent was ever again recognized and appreciated… or has his light gone unnoticed since that episode back then?…  anyway, here’s some Buddy Guy to enjoy in the same vein…

…and he IS acknowledged as a one of the greatest blues and soul musicians… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

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